Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bishop McLaughlin

Pond gets bigger for McLaughlin's valedictorian, salutatorian

Times photographers tend to be creative. So it wasn't surprising to see Sarah Williams posing for her valedictorian portrait while standing on a burgundy faux leather chair in the vast lobby of the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School.

But it was surprising for Sarah. After all, this is the place a fellow student was just shooed out for trying to transport an open can of Coke from the cafeteria to her classroom.

"You're never allowed to stand on the chairs," Sarah said, flashing an easy grin in front of the silhouette collage of the entire 2008 senior class that was hanging on the wall. "It's very liberating."

Both Sarah and salutatorian Kyle Edwin will soon leave their small class and the small school experience of Bishop McLaughlin to join the multitudes headed to the University of Florida.

"It really wasn't a tough decision," Sarah said. "Bright Futures is a big draw. I'm a Gator fan. UF is probably the best state school in Florida. And I guess I'm ready for a change."

Even so, Sarah said she would miss the community feeling at Bishop McLaughlin. "You pretty much know all the teachers even if you don't have them," she said.

Kyle is a tad nervous. "It'll be a lot different there, coming from a small school," he said. "I'll miss my friends. I'll miss being on a more personal level with the teachers."

Kyle, who attended public schools in New Jersey before moving to Florida mid-freshman year, will head to UF for a summer session at the end of June to attend a special program for engineering students. "I'll probably just hang out until I go," he said.

Sarah plans to spend three weeks in Europe with two good friends before starting school in the fall.

Graduation present?

"This is birthday, Christmas, graduation presents from my parents," Sarah said. "Plus whatever money I have."
Valedictorian: Sarah Ellen Williams

GPA: 4.429 (weighted)

Future school: University of Florida.

Ideal career: Pediatrician

Most inspirational person/people: My parents for teaching me that anything is possible if I work hard enough for it; and my good friend, Meghan, for showing me how to appreciate the beauty in life.

Best advice or quote: "Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste the food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." William Saroyan

Clubs/extracurriculars: Piano, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Key Club, lector at Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Kyle Edwin

GPA: 4.188 (weighted)

Future school: University of Florida.

Major: Chemical engineering.

Ideal career: Research

Most inspirational person/people: My most inspirational person is my opa (grandfather), because of all the things he went through in life and the challenges he overcame.

Best advice or quote: The best advice I received was from my father. Her told me to find something I love to work at.

Favorite place on campus: The school's EDPAC Center, because of all the good memories I have there from my stagecraft class.

Favorite book: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society.

If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? I would see if it would be possible to make the number of students in each class smaller.

The 2008 commencement ceremony for Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at the school.


The 2008 commencement ceremony for Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at the school.

Pond gets bigger for McLaughlin's valedictorian, salutatorian 05/20/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 9:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Scaramucci on leaks: 'I'm going to fire everybody'


    WASHINGTON — Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's new communications director, vowed Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up.

  4. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  5. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.